Introduction to the Shiloh Shepherd™

Originally written in 1991 by Tina M. Barber

(Breed Founder) for the SSDCA, Inc.

Updated  9/1997 and 6/2008

(Reprinted with exclusive permission of the author)

Download a printable version of this document.

Do you remember a specific "German Shepherd" you used to know as a child (or if you are under 40) one that your family or friends told you about? He was the dog with that super, almost human intelligence; that big family protector that was so very gentle with little children, yet would give his life for his master without question. The dog that would walk you to the school bus, and then show up again exactly on time to wait for your return; the hero that everyone talked about; the one that seemed half human. His personality consisted of Lassie, Strongheart, and Rin Tin Tin all rolled into one.

Well, that dog is still here today, and he is called a Shiloh Shepherd™.

For the past 35 years these dogs have undergone a very intense "re-creation" process started by Shiloh Shepherds™ Kennels, in New York. Tina Barber, originally a Schutzhund trainer with North American Schutzhund Association (NASA), was born and raised in Germany. The dogs she remembered as a child were big, strong, easy to train, loyal and extremely intelligent. These were the large mountain herding dogs that stole everyone’s heart. After coming to America and devoting her life to training, showing, and breeding these dogs, she soon realized that some very strong trends were forming to not only change the appearance, but also the personality of these animals. Not willing to follow the popular fads, she insisted on breeding to the old, original type she loved so much. As time went on, things changed quickly. That big massive square bodied dog we used to refer to as a German Shepherd soon began to stretch out longer and thinner with small, fine bone.

For a complete detailed report, please download "The Origins of the Shiloh Shepherd™ in Word and Picture" from this website.

If you seriously invoke on a journey of research, you will quickly learn that TODAY we have three distinct extremes within the "German Shepherd" breed:

(1)The American Show (German Shepherd) dogs have changed dramatically over the years as most of you can clearly see if you take the time to go to a dog show. They are now much longer in body, with finer bone and smaller size. For generations they have been bred for angulation, resulting in the new streamlined style we see today. The temperament of the "show" dogs has also gone through some dramatic changes, with many people now complaining about spooky-shy dogs, with no courage left to protect their owners, or worse yet 'FEAR BITERS' that are totally unpredictable. By placing continuous emphasis on the "FLASHY" show dog, that "pulls" his handler around the ring, unfortunately, some of the German Shepherd Dogs greatest qualities (calm-stable intelligence) have been compromised.

(2)The German Imports on the other hand have excellent strong protective instincts, but they have been bred mainly for Schutzhund competition only. Since Americans pay thousands of dollars to import 'Working' dogs, the competition to produce hotter-tougher-harder specimens became intense. Price wars saw many inferior animals being brought in because they were cheaper and still considered Imports. These dogs have been bred here, resulting in polluting the good blood that had also been imported.

Many of these dogs stay in a continuously "hyper" stage, constantly looking for "action," and therefore do not make good house pets or companions for the average family.

(3)The Shiloh Shepherd™ was bred to preserve the original qualities everyone loved so much in the old style German Shepherd. Although the dogs were much too big and not angulated enough to please the Show Fancy, they nevertheless still retained the intelligence and working ability of the Schutzhund dog, and many were trained for police work and personal protection. They also proved themselves to be excellent at search and rescue, as well as herding. The Shilohs were bred mainly for sound hips, temperament, and like their "Flock Guardian" ancestors, very large size.

Shiloh Shepherd History Time Line 1962-2008

Despite much controversy from groups 1 and 2, the Shiloh breeding programs intensified to continue producing these magnificent animals! Many like-minded people across America also joined in to breed these dogs and in time they started developing a reputation of their own. Even though these dogs had always been AKC German Shepherds, they had clearly become so different that it was time to separate them into their own category. Nine generations of pedigree and LMX® data was compiled by The INTERNATIONAL Shiloh Shepherd™ REGISTRY, INC. (ISSR), Inc. A twelve-year contract was signed with the TCCP to produce a unique (specially designed) program that would meet the exact requirements of The ISSR, Inc.

Official data entry began in September 1993 and all past entries that had been kept in the "paper files" became computerized. Seven dominant and seven recessive characteristics that BEST described each dog were chosen from the 81 listed for all dogs in the first five generations. This program continues to document all vital data on each "Shiloh" registered.

Registries- What Are They?

Many people have asked us to list the differences between the German Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd™. We hope that the following comparisons will be helpful to you.

TEMPERAMENT: German Shepherd dogs come in a variety of temperament categories, ranging from the very-hard to the very-soft. They can be broken down as follows:

A. Very-Hard: These dogs are always looking for a fight. They make excellent area security dogs for a variety of businesses, but are very difficult to deal with in a more traditional family environment. This type of dog insists on being the boss (or pack alpha) and will challenge his owner's authority as often as he can get away with it. Unless his owner is a hard, strong willed person who can demand total respect, at all times, this dog could prove to be a great danger to friends and relatives, not to mention possible law suits that could occur due to his behavior.

Aggression should never be confused with protection. An aggressive bully constantly looking for a fight and mistrusting everyone should be considered overly sharp. This dog can become extremely dangerous when not kept under complete control at all times.

B. Medium-Hard: These dogs inherit a very strong protective instinct. They are outgoing, self-confident and highly intelligent. Even though usually very dominant, they can be totally trusted with family and children. Though they can exhibit a stronger or lesser degree of possessiveness, they definitely need a firm handler who must become the pack leader. If no such leadership is established, they will definitely take matters into their own paws. They will always try to run the household and get away with as much as they can. It is very important that these dogs be put in a sound training program to develop their full potential and to establish absolute control in all situations.

C. Medium-Soft: This dog is definitely not a coward and does not exhibit any of the shy dog syndromes even though he is more passive. He displays a stable, sound, happy with the world attitude. He is a very willing worker, always eager to please. He is usually more friendly towards strangers because he considers people to be his friends. He exhibits an almost childlike attitude towards everything. He is friendly because he is confident and secure within himself. He will bark like crazy when a stranger approaches his home, then promptly wag his tail when they have arrived. Yet this type can be easily trained to attack on command. Even though he possesses the fighting, protective instinct, he will rarely mean business unless he is totally convinced that he is in a "real danger" situation.

STM - What is It?

D. Soft: The soft dog is passive and friendly, like his big mountain cousins; patiently watching their flocks and bred for stability, courage and intelligence. The soft dog is not interested in looking for a fight. He doesn't want to start any trouble but he is willing to give his life for his sheep, or his family, if trouble comes to him. Even though he appears very easy going and laid back, cool, calm, and collected, he never lacks courage when needed, or the intelligence to use it wisely. He can become the best possible companion any child could ever ask for. He is also very willing to please and therefore makes an excellent obedience prospect for anyone who is willing to show him some love.

E. Very-Soft: The very soft dog can also be classified as dull; this dog has no personality. He doesn't care what happens to him or anyone else. Usually this dog will exhibit very little interest in anything he does. He does not want to work or play or anything. There is no spark in his life, and he doesn't even care.

F. Shy: The simply shy dog that spooks, bolts, or jumps without provocation, refuses to go up to friendly strangers and shows unreasonable fear, is totally useless to himself as well as his owner. The dog that is so submissive he goes belly up or proceeds to pee when confronted with even a slightly questionable situation is simply a coward. Even though he may be friendly and secure with his family, he does not possess a good temperament.

Improper/insufficient socialization during the critical 7 - 17 week period can cause some dogs to demonstrate "shy" behavior. Therefore an expert that can determine if the unsuitable behavior is/was caused due to improper socialization/training or due to genetic defects should be consulted.

Shyness can also be mistaken for aggression. A sharp shy dog is actually so terrified of everything around him that he is always fighting for his life out of sheer terror. Often times this dog is called a fear biter, and always much more dangerous than the overly sharp dog especially to his own family. Both types are highly untrainable and totally unstable.


For more information on proper  testing, you may now order the
ISSR, Inc. Litter Evaluation Program Manual.

HIPS: Possibly the most important characteristic about the Shiloh is the one that can only be seen in a x-ray. Although hip dysplasia (HD) still runs rampant in many breeds, including the German Shepherd, the Shilohs have been developed through a tediously intense Litter Mate X-ray (LMX®) program designed to lower the incidence of penetrance. Realizing years ago that HD is a problem to be reckoned with, much research has been done related to environmental factors, as well as the polygenic mode of inheritance. When properly adhered to, the LMX® program has proven itself virtually indispensable in eliminating the-problems associated with HD in our beloved breed. Proper use of this technology along with the strict guidelines for registry set up by the International Shiloh Shepherd™ Registry, Inc. (ISSR) will insure all future generations of Shilohs against the dreadful pitfalls of developing this degenerative disorder.

Achieving the Ultimate Hips

SIZE: As can clearly be seen through a reading of the Breed Standard, much emphasis is placed on size with males ranging from 28-32 inches and females from 26-29 inches. Although this big, they still must have the proper balance and movement. A Shiloh must possess that smooth, elastic practically effortless gait that is so vital for overall working ability as a herding dog, search and rescue prospect or any other endeavor that may be needed. Strength and stamina are very essential factors for the Shiloh, therefore, all dogs are bred with the 3-B’s in mind, Beauty, Brains and Brawn.

Shiloh or LHGSD

COAT: The Shilohs come in two very distinctly different coat types;

The smooth coated dogs look exactly like the giant German Shepherds of the past. They posses a thick double undercoat, and actually do a lot better in colder climates. Although they shed more than the plush coats, a brisk brushing during the "shedding season" will keep things under control. Their coat is similar in type to the Malamute, but adjusts well to warmer climates also. Their environment determines the thickness of their coat. Indoor pets do not fluctuate as drastically.

The plush coated dogs have a coat very similar to the Belgian Tervuren, although they are actually closer to that of a Kuvaz or Golden Retriever. The plush coats need to be groomed more often because their soft silky hair has a tendency to become matted just as a small child's hair would if kept uncombed. The plush coats also appear larger because of the extra "Lion type" mane they develop.

Since September, 1994, both coat types no longer compete against each other at Shiloh Specialties. They are separated into two distinct varieties (similar to that of the Collie's "smooth" and "rough"). Each type stands in a class of its own, although they are encouraged to be bred to each other in order to maintain the proper balance.

ISSR Shiloh Shepherd Illustrated Breed Standard

REGISTRY: The ISSR, Inc. is probably the world's strictest registry designed to preserve the excellence of our breed as well as to protect the consumers who want to add a Shiloh to their family. Code and color categorize each dog so that closer control can be held over individual dogs. The possibility of unscrupulous breeders rising up and breeding inferior animals had become such a threat to the future development of this breed that many safeguards have been incorporated to protect them. Each individual dog must pass through the system at least four times before he/she can be used for breeding.

1. The litter application form lists each puppy individually (not just number of pups and sex). A detailed (TCCP) 4 generation pedigree on (Sire and Dam) as well as pictures of the puppies with their dam (taken prior to 10-days of age) must accompany the completed application. Spaces are provided for each puppy, listing sex, color, coat, markings, etc. Puppies must be between 40-70 days of age when litter applications are filled out, pictures of each puppy (marked) as well as the entire group must be presented with the application. If the Sire/Dam does not possess GOLD papers, breed warden approval of all breeding is mandatory. Each puppy is then issued a " Yellow" or "Blue" Paper that must be presented to the new owner.

2. When the puppies are between 70-180 days of age, the breeder must submit a Placement Form to the ISSR, Inc. This form again lists each puppy individually along with final disposition information. This form also lists the puppy's "Quality," whether it was sold as a show prospect or with breeders rights, etc., or as a Pet with B/W Paper only. In the event that a puppy was not sold by this time, the breeder must name the puppy and apply for temporary Pink Papers.

3. Prior to the minimum 210 days of age allotment, each new owner must return the original Yellow or Blue papers completed along with two recent pictures for Temporary (Pink) papers. This certificate lists all of the permanent information regarding that particular puppy as well as a 4-generation pedigree. In the event the Yellow or Blue papers presented do not match up with the Placement Form provided by the Breeder, no papers will be issued.

4. Upon reaching at least 12-months of age, (Temporary papers are valid for up to 14-months of age) the new owner then submits a copy of his/her dog's x-ray certification (OFA Preliminary/Penn Hip) along with a passing temperament certificate, size certificate, signed by a K-9 judge and 4-pictures (1-front view, 1-rear view, 1-left side, 1-right side while standing) along with proper DNA verification as well as a completed Dominant/Recessive chart. All this information is then documented, and Permanent papers are issued. Depending on the dog’s pedigree and the above information, each Shiloh is placed into one of three categories:

a. BLACK ON WHITE (prefixed BLA-C4-6) registrations are issued to all Pet Quality, 'non-breedable" dogs. Even though these dogs may possess the size, hips, and temperament necessary to be a top quality specimen, they may not possess the genetic background needed to insure their ability to produce quality progeny. Also, any puppies that are sold as pets due to any type of genetic imperfection, are therefore registered with non-breeding papers so that future generations can be protected against the possibility of passing on undesirable traits.

b. ORANGE ON WHITE (prefixed ORA-C3-7) registrations are issued to all dogs that possess the genetic ability to produce excellent specimens even though they themselves may not have reached the required size, or do not possess the 21/43 required "registerable" dogs to attain their Gold status. Breeders desiring to protect their lines, or unsure of an individual puppy's exact qualities, may choose to sell their progeny as "ORA’s." These dogs are listed as "Breedable with Caution" and cannot be bred without the proper authorization from the Breeder as well as the Breed Warden.

Note: Due to the difficulty in accurately evaluating very young puppies properly, the ISSR, Inc. has established an UPGRADE PROGRAM. It is available to all breeders that may choose to sell any specific puppy at a lower rating initially, yet are still able to upgrade ONLY (from BLA to RED or ORA/ORA to GOL) ONE LEVEL prior to permanent papers being issued.

PLEASE read the ISSR, Inc. Rules and Regulations for more details on this program, as well as the RED ON WHITE Registration procedures.

c. GOLD ON WHITE (prefixed GOL-CI-9) registrations are issued only to the absolute best specimens. These pups usually carry a loaded champion pedigree with at least one parent having attained conformation/obedience titles. Owners of these dogs are encouraged to show and breed their stock so as to continue the excellency of the Shiloh Shepherds™ for all future generations. Championships are fairly easy to attain, and all serious breeders should have their dogs titled. Males that have not proved themselves worthy in the ring should never be used at stud.

Locate a show/event near you - visit our SSDCA Chapters or Homecoming pages!

BREEDERS: Are encouraged to maintain the standard of excellency set up by the ISSR, Inc. Therefore each breeder must sign the ISSR Licensed Breeders Agreement and the SSDCA Breeders Code of Ethics assuring this organization of his or her dedication to the betterment of our breed. The secret to breeding better dogs is in knowing everything you possibly can about their recessives. Always get as much information on your dog's background as possible (physical as well as genetic). Licensed breeders are members of the OSS (Original Shiloh Shepherd™ Academy) or Very Important Breeders (VIB) program and receive continuous Educational Information from the Breed FOUNDER and BREED WARDEN (Tina, a.k.a. "Ma Shiloh").

Puppy Producers - What Are They?

Warning: For your greatest protection, never, never purchase a "Shiloh" from a breeder who is not a signer of the Breeder’s Code, and part of the ISSR, Inc. OSS or VIB Program! Complete listings of all active Licensed Breeders can be located on the World Wide Web at

Those that could not live up to the STRICT requirements set by the ISSR left to start their "own" registries and then invited many others to join them.


SHOWS: Are available all over the country and we encourage anyone interested in seeing the Shilohs or purchasing one in the future to attend as many shows as possible.

Championships (Ch) are awarded to dogs that best meet the Breed Standard. Only dogs with Gold or Red or Orange papers are eligible to receive points and therefore no titles can be awarded to dogs that have not passed their size requirements, hip x-rays, or temperament tests. From this elite group of genetically sound specimens, the best dogs are then selected as per the Breed Standard.

National Selects (NS) are tabulated each year from the highest scoring dogs and bitches in the ‘Best of Breed’ competition. All champions are eligible to compete for this prestigious position. The top winning dog and bitch for each fiscal year receives the coveted title of Grand Victor or Grand Victrix (GV) and carries this title in front of his/her Ch. The other 10 (runner-ups) receive an NS number such as #2NS or #8NS, etc.

Register of Merit (ROM) has the same type of tabulation as the AKC breeds, recording information on all progeny and crediting those that produce them. In many cases a stud that has earned his ROM is much more valuable to a breeding program than one that only has a Championship. Remember a Championship proves that the individual is an excellent specimen only. ROM proves he can produce excellent progeny. The more R.O.M. points a male accumulates, the greater his value to our breed!! Always ask for the Sire/Dam’s number of ROM points!!

The Rare Breed shows are a lot of fun. Due to the infiltration of the mixed breeds showing at ARBA - RARITIES - ETC. the ISSR owners stopped attending those foolish side shows.  Please read more details via these articles: Broken Hearted Breed Founder and The ARBA Story.  However, we have continued to show at very well attended ISSR sanctioned SSDCA Chapter events and IABCA and AKC matches.  You will be pleasantly surprised when you realize that they are not the stuffy political nightmare you had expected. All of our members are encouraged to show their own dogs and even the worst amateurs have left the ring with ribbons and points. If you hear of an AKC "FUN MATCH" near you, go visit. You may be pleasantly surprised! Shilohs receive ISSR POINTS at these shows and often participate! To view thousands of photos of our dogs at these events, please join our Community forums or just visit our Homecoming pages for a quick preview.

Shiloh Shepherd™ Breeders & Fanciers travel all over the country, in order to attend AS MANY shows, as possible! We would like to invite YOU to come and VISIT us at the shows!! You will be VERY pleasantly surprised when you see these dogs IN PERSON. Our members REALLY love to meet new people, and talk about their dogs!

If you have any questions about Shiloh Shepherds™, please join our ShilohShepherdFriends group.

PRICES: May vary from breeder to breeder depending on the type of guarantee that will be offered with each individual puppy, as well as the actual quality of the puppies offered for sale. The ISSR, Inc. has established flexible guidelines that have been recommended to the breeders. Many breeders have special discounts they offer to anyone wishing to purchase more than one puppy, as well as referral commission, etc. Please check with your breeder regarding their specific policies and guarantee.

Our recommended "BASE-PRICE" Guidelines with FULL guarantees and subject to specific breeder discounts (up to 50% for co-ownership) are as follows:

(a) Pet Quality pups with "non-breeding" papers should be sold for not less than $750 but not more than $1250. Upgradeable pets from top DNB litters can sell for up to $2000.

(b) Possible show and breeding potentials sold with orange papers (that do not qualify for Gold registry due to the lack of LMX® information) will be sold for no less than 50% off the champion base price guidelines, or no more than 30% off the same, $1500 being the absolute lowest base price charged. Puppies that do qualify for Gold, but are sold with Restricted Orange papers, due to breeder's choice, can vary in price up to $2250, depending on the number of champions in their lineage.

(c) All breedable NB pups carry the lowest RC's and have therefore the least potential for developing any serious health issues due to a possibly lowered Immune system, due to heavy inbreeding, yet have most of the other desirable qualities that are found in the Gold papered dogs.  These special dogs have their own pricing category, and DNB show potential pups can run as high as  $4,000, depending on guarantees provided by the breeders.

d) Show Quality pups sold with potential Gold papers are considered the ultimate best specimens, and prices can vary depending on the actual quality and guarantee of each individual. Litters that carry four, or more, Champions in their first five generations are usually priced between $2500 - $4500 (less discounts), depending on the total number of champions in the pedigree, as well as the available guarantee provided by the breeder.


Please note: Our pricing guidelines have NOT changed since their inception! As of 6/2008 we still maintain an average price of $1550 for Non-NB upgradeable pets!


QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAMS have been incorporated by the ISSR, Inc. to improve the excellency of this breed. Here are some of the programs we use:

Temperament Testing (TT)

The ISSR, Inc. offers a basic Temperament Test that determines whether the individual animal tested is sound. The test used is very similar to that of the American Temperament Society and is very easy to complete. The dog does not have to be trained in any way. He/she is simply asked to walk through the various stages and the individual dog’s reactions to the hidden noise, friendly stranger, popping umbrella, gun fire, etc., etc., etc. is evaluated. If the dog spooks or bolts from the gun test or the decoy etc., then he/she fails. In order for a Shiloh to receive breeding papers, each dog must pass a temperament test to prove his or her courage and stability.

Breed Certificate Report (BCR)

The ISSR, Inc. has a complete BCR program similar to the German Koer/Klasse Report. All dogs used for breeding should possess this Certificate. Each dog is graded individually in all areas of temperament and conformation. This Certificate consists of at least two pictures of the dog (1) sitting facing front, (1) standing side view, along with all pertinent registration information, etc. Most of all this report lists the Breed Warden's evaluation of

(1) exact temperament classification.

(2) Analysis of working characteristics.

(3) Exact structural evaluation right down to the smallest detail, like eye shape and color, tail length, etc.

(4) Complete gait evaluation

(5) A full detailed report on possible genetic faults and virtues through an intense ancestral study of dominant/recessive genes inherited by their littermates, etc.

Genetic advice and warnings are clearly listed on the BCR so that choosing the best possible breeding combinations becomes much simpler for everyone. These pictures along with the completed scores, comments, etc. are printed on a large Certificate, then permanently sealed in plastic. Copies are available through the TCCP.

Litter Evaluation Report (LER) is another service offered by the ISSR, Inc. to all members. Each breeder is encouraged to video tape their puppies while a certified "TESTER"/Licensed Judge performs the conformation evaluations and temperament testing requirements between seven and eight weeks of age, following the specific puppy Conformation Guidelines and temperament test outline that includes:

(1) human interaction (6) gun shyness
(2) submission/dominance (7) pain threshold
(3) sociability (8) fighting drive
(4) elevation/forgiveness (9) the maze

(5) retrieve drive



Be sure to order a copy of our NEW - detailed LER Manual!

Then mail the tape along with the completed forms (signed) to our Breed Warden who will in turn fill out a detailed report on each puppy tested. This helps novice breeders get a better understanding of their puppies’ specific qualities, thereby helping them place each puppy in the right home. Furthermore, this program also helps to protect the new owners against possible false claims that a breeder may try to make.

Buyer Beware - Always ask for a proper LER.


Improperly performed LER's are USELESS! The Shiloh Shepherd is a  unique breed - proper evaluations are critical! Make sure that the tester is ISSR certified!

Other tests (including Volhard) are NOT approved by the ISSR because they are too generic! Please compare them to the ISSR approved LER manual.  For additional information, please join our Shiloh Shepherd Community Forums!

Litter Mate Information (LMI):

This information is very critical to every breeding program that is dedicated to the betterment of the total dog. This report will list each puppy born, the final results regarding size, temperament, hip x-rays, coat, color, etc. You will be able to determine if your dog has any littermates with bad hips or other faults. The ISSR Inc. has accumulated LMX® data from other breeders, and is keeping very intricate records through the TCCP.

For more information on these services, or to order detailed Pedigrees that provide information on each dog's hip status, color, coat, height, weight, temperament, faults, virtues, etc., please write to:

The Complete Computer Place
702 Rein Drive
Killeen, Texas 76542

The ISSR, Inc. can be contacted by writing to:

ISSR, Inc.
PO Box 309
Silver Springs, NY 14550

Or you may contact the Breed Warden and founder (Tina Barber) directly by joining our Shiloh Shepherd Friends forum.

Warning: For your greatest protection, never, never purchase a "Shiloh" from a breeder who is not a signer of the Breeder’s Code, and part of the ISSR, Inc. OSS or VIB Program! Complete listings of all active Licensed Breeders can be located on the World Wide Web at


If you would like to talk to hundreds of Shiloh Shepherd™ owners and ISSR Licensed Breeders, please join our Shiloh Shepherd™ Community Forums!

For more information about the Shiloh Shepherd, please be sure to investigate the following links.

| ISSR Shiloh Shepherd Illustrated Breed Standard | The Shiloh Shepherd Story: Against the Wind--A Breed is Born | Broken Hearted Breed Founder Series | Learning Center


Originally posted to the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center: February 1998.

ISSR Shiloh Shepherds
ISSR Shiloh Shepherds
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